Source: The Herald Sun, Saturday, February 3, 1996, p.5


Gambling bites into family funds

By KYLIE HANSEN, 
family reporter 
 
VICTORIANS are 
using housekeeping 
money to finance an 
$89 million a week 
gambling habit. 
 
   One of the big winners 
is Crown Casino, which 
has attracted 38 per cent 
of Victorians, with 15 per 
cent now regular casino 
customers. 
 
   The Victorian Casino 
and Gaming Authority's 
third annual survey of 
community gambling 
patterns, released 
yesterday, shows almost 
half the gamblers dip into 
their daily household 
expenses to finance a 
flutter. 
 
   And about a quarter of 
regular gamblers adjust 
the family budget so they 
can gamble. 
 
   The study, conducted in 
June last year, is the first 
detailed account of the 
social impact of gaming 
since Crown Casino 
opened. It revealed: 
 
GAMBLING attracted 77 
per cent of Victorians last 
year. 
 
MONEY for 
housekeeping costs is 
used for gambling by 45 
per cent of gamblers. 
 
THE big winners were 
casinos-patronage is up 
from 7 per cent in 1994 
to 21 per cent last year. 
 
ADULTS spend about $27 a  
week on gaming- though  
regular casino patrons  
spend $73 a week. 
 
THE casino is especially 
attractive to people born 
in Asia, those aged in 
their 20s, low-earning 
white-collar workers and 
people earning $35,000 
to $50,000. 
 
A spokeswoman for the 
Interchurch Gambling 
Task Force, Bronwyn 
Pike, said the churches 
were extremely worried 
by the figures. 
 
"Our worst fears are con- 
firmed-a few individuals 
and the Crown Casino 
owners are in a gold rush 
and mining the citizens 
of this state," Ms Pike 
said. 
 
The State Opposition's 
gaming spokesman, Mr 
David White, said: "The 
casino control authority 
stands to be condemned 
for increasing table 
numbers from 200 to 350 
and not taking into 
account this information 
and making it public." 
 
But the Victorian Casino 
and Gaming Authority 
chairman, John Richards 
said the figures showed a 
stabilised gambling 
population. 
 
A Crown Casino 
spokesman, Gary O'Neill, 
said: "It is immediately 
clear from this research 
that the impact of the 
casino has been nothing 
like the scaremongering 
by the State Opposition." 
 
Victoria's Minister for 
Gaming, Haddon Storey 
welcomed the figures and 
said they showed most 
Victorians gambled well 
within their means. 
 
AT A GLANCE 
 
VICTORIANS spend 
about $89 million a 
week on gambling. 
 
SEVENTY-seven per 
cent of adults have 
gambled in the past 
12 months. 
 
ABOUT 38 per cent 
of Victorians have 
visited the 
Melbourne Casino. 
 
CASINO usage is up from 
seven per cent in 1994 to 
21 per cent in 1995. 
 
CASINO users are 
prepared to spend 
the most gambling 
money (average $57 
a visit). 
 
THE authority's 
calculated weekly 
gambling outlay for 
adults is $27 ($73 
for regular casino 
patrons). 
 
FORTY-five per cent 
of gamblers said the 
source of gambling 
funds was 
housekeeping or 
living costs. 
 
SIXTY-three per 
cent said gambling 
was a serious social 
problem. 
 
MANY regular 
gamblers have cut 
back on leisure and 
clothing to pay for 
their habit. 
 
FIFTEEN per cent of 
Victorians are 
regular casino users 
(at least once a 
month). 
 
FIVE per cent of 
Victorians spend 
more than 25 per 
cent of their gross 
income on gambling.


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